Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

Why were many of history's most brutal regimes authored by atheists?

Atheism, secularism & freethought etc.

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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#81  Postby Coastal » Oct 02, 2014 11:51 am

Yes, but the point I'm trying to make is that we don't know in advance whether such rehabilitation has worked or is even possible.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#82  Postby colubridae » Oct 02, 2014 12:05 pm

Sendraks wrote:
Coastal wrote:

I know there are a lot of flaws with this argument but what is the alternative?


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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#83  Postby Ven. Kwan Tam Woo » Oct 02, 2014 12:13 pm

Calilasseia wrote:
Exactly. Moreover, the one feature of religions that they adopted with gusto, was that hideous innovation that was the invention of the Abrahamic religions, namely, ruthless enforcement of conformity to doctrine.


Not to mention the fact that the Abrahamic religions invented the most ingenious form of the totalitarian police state the world has ever seen; a form of totalitarianism in which whole populations were utterly convinced that an invisible wrathful almighty policeman was continuously monitoring their every move and even their every thought to ensure that they obeyed said policeman's will in every little aspect of their lives. Eat your heart out O'Brien!
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#84  Postby NuclMan » Oct 02, 2014 12:57 pm

Coastal wrote:Yes, but the point I'm trying to make is that we don't know in advance whether such rehabilitation has worked or is even possible.

Yes we do; but even if we didn't that doesn't justify letting god sort them out.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#85  Postby NuclMan » Oct 02, 2014 12:58 pm

colubridae wrote:
Sendraks wrote:
Coastal wrote:

I know there are a lot of flaws with this argument but what is the alternative?


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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#86  Postby Coastal » Oct 02, 2014 1:04 pm

NuclMan wrote:
Coastal wrote:Yes, but the point I'm trying to make is that we don't know in advance whether such rehabilitation has worked or is even possible.

Yes we do; but even if we didn't that doesn't justify letting god sort them out.



Alrighty then.

I didn't propose CP as an answer btw, I was thinking more along the lines of some kind of separation from the rest of society.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#87  Postby Sendraks » Oct 02, 2014 1:20 pm

NuclMan wrote:
colubridae wrote:
Sendraks wrote:
Coastal wrote:

I know there are a lot of flaws with this argument but what is the alternative?


Help.
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Rehabilitation.

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Rational thinking


Coupled with actually being bothered to try, rather than murdering people or slinging them in a cell to forget about them.
So also...

Civilised thinking.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#88  Postby Calilasseia » Oct 02, 2014 1:22 pm

Coastal wrote:I don't think I can be comfortable with a murderer walking the streets. Who is to know if it wasn't some brain abnormality that caused them to behave in such a manner and who is to say they won't do it again? The first responsibility has to be to the public.


If an individual possesses a genuine, clinically diagnosable brain abnormality, this calls into serious question whether that individual can reasonably stand trial in the first place. If that individual's behaviour is the result of such a condition, then the proper approach isn't punitive imprisonment, but secure hospitalisation, with a view to seeking treatment of that condition. Particularly if it can be demonstrated that said individual's behaviour would be significantly different (and law abiding) in the absence of that condition. Injuries to the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex are particularly apposite here, as this is the part of the brain that has been determined empirically, in a reliable and repeatable manner, to be responsible for our capacity for ethical thought and decision making. injuries thereto have been demonstrated to have a significant and manifestly negative effect upon behaviour, and in the case of injury thereto occurring in adults, many of the victims of said injury regret their behaviour, upon account of having acquired ethical awareness prior to the injury, but are unable to stop themselves from behaving in selfish and anti-social ways. If that injury, however, occurs in young children, before those children have acquired an ethical awareness through parental or school education, they become, in effect, classic narcissistic psychopaths, with no regrets for their actions, however heinous.

I find it rather difficult to see how merely retributive measures will have any effect upon either of the above cited instances of brain injury.

Coastal wrote:I know there are a lot of flaws with this argument but what is the alternative?


Secure hospitalisation. With a recognition that in the case of someone with a clinically diagnosable brain abnormality, that clinical diagnosis calls into question the competence of that individual to be considered truly responsible for their actions.

Furthermore, there are documented instances of a transition from law-abiding to anti-social behaviour arising in individuals with brain tumours. Do you seriously suggest that we should either simply extinguish them, or simply lock them up and throw away the key, when the behaviour transition is the result of their brain function being compromised by a malignancy? One that in the past, would have killed them in pretty short order anyway, but which can now frequently be treated successfully, and allow sufferers thereof to return to normal functioning?

Quite simply, ask yourself this: if you were suffering from, say, an aggressive astroglioma, and that malignancy altered your behaviour, only for your behaviour to return to normal after the deployment of relevant therapeutic agents, would you want to face the electric chair because of something you did whilst your normal brain function was compromised by disease? Would you want people baying for your blood, because you did something whilst ill, that you would never contemplate doing whilst healthy?
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#89  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Oct 02, 2014 1:28 pm

Nicko wrote:
Sendraks wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:

Sendraks wrote:Better to let a guilty man walk free than put an innocent man to death.


With the former option, you have the opportunity to correct the error. With the latter, you don't.


Absolutely. So many in favour of capital punishment are utterly indifferent to the consequences of putting innocents to death. They only care about retribution and justice plays a distinct second fiddle to that.


Personally, I'd oppose CP even if we could be 100% sure of people's guilt.

I just don't regard killing someone as something that can be justified on any grounds other than the defence of oneself or others from immanent death or serious harm.

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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#90  Postby Coastal » Oct 02, 2014 1:33 pm

Calilasseia wrote:
Coastal wrote:I don't think I can be comfortable with a murderer walking the streets. Who is to know if it wasn't some brain abnormality that caused them to behave in such a manner and who is to say they won't do it again? The first responsibility has to be to the public.


If an individual possesses a genuine, clinically diagnosable brain abnormality, this calls into serious question whether that individual can reasonably stand trial in the first place. If that individual's behaviour is the result of such a condition, then the proper approach isn't punitive imprisonment, but secure hospitalisation, with a view to seeking treatment of that condition. Particularly if it can be demonstrated that said individual's behaviour would be significantly different (and law abiding) in the absence of that condition. Injuries to the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex are particularly apposite here, as this is the part of the brain that has been determined empirically, in a reliable and repeatable manner, to be responsible for our capacity for ethical thought and decision making. injuries thereto have been demonstrated to have a significant and manifestly negative effect upon behaviour, and in the case of injury thereto occurring in adults, many of the victims of said injury regret their behaviour, upon account of having acquired ethical awareness prior to the injury, but are unable to stop themselves from behaving in selfish and anti-social ways. If that injury, however, occurs in young children, before those children have acquired an ethical awareness through parental or school education, they become, in effect, classic narcissistic psychopaths, with no regrets for their actions, however heinous.

I find it rather difficult to see how merely retributive measures will have any effect upon either of the above cited instances of brain injury.

Coastal wrote:I know there are a lot of flaws with this argument but what is the alternative?


Secure hospitalisation. With a recognition that in the case of someone with a clinically diagnosable brain abnormality, that clinical diagnosis calls into question the competence of that individual to be considered truly responsible for their actions.

Furthermore, there are documented instances of a transition from law-abiding to anti-social behaviour arising in individuals with brain tumours. Do you seriously suggest that we should either simply extinguish them, or simply lock them up and throw away the key, when the behaviour transition is the result of their brain function being compromised by a malignancy? One that in the past, would have killed them in pretty short order anyway, but which can now frequently be treated successfully, and allow sufferers thereof to return to normal functioning?

Quite simply, ask yourself this: if you were suffering from, say, an aggressive astroglioma, and that malignancy altered your behaviour, only for your behaviour to return to normal after the deployment of relevant therapeutic agents, would you want to face the electric chair because of something you did whilst your normal brain function was compromised by disease? Would you want people baying for your blood, because you did something whilst ill, that you would never contemplate doing whilst healthy?


I guess you wrote this before I posted that I did not propose CP as an answer, but rather some kind of separation from the public/society.

Anyway, this is all a best case scenario in terms of the diagnosis and treatment of such an affliction. Secure hospitalization is also a form of separation from the public.

My point remains that the first responsibility should be to the public. I just read of a case this past week where somebody who was charged with rape got released on bail, just to go out and kidnap and rape another person close to where I live. This happens often in my country with murder accused and murder convicted out on parole are released just to go out and murder again.

Now you could argue that the correctional system in my country sucks and you'd be right, but this must surely still be true to some extent in other countries.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#91  Postby Sendraks » Oct 02, 2014 1:40 pm

Coastal wrote:My point remains that the first responsibility should be to the public.


Agreed. However, people accused of crimes are also members of the public. And we do not restrict the liberties of individual members of the public without good reason.

Coastal wrote: I just read of a case this past week where somebody who was charged with rape got released on bail, just to go out and kidnap and rape another person close to where I live. This happens often in my country with murder accused and murder convicted out on parole are released just to go out and murder again.


I quite agree that society should be protected from individuals who might cause them harm, but just locking these individuals up doesn't actually solve anything. It doesn't educate or rehabilitate them and it certainly does nothing to tackle the problems out in society which are causing these behaviours.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#92  Postby NuclMan » Oct 02, 2014 1:41 pm

Coastal wrote:
NuclMan wrote:
Coastal wrote:Yes, but the point I'm trying to make is that we don't know in advance whether such rehabilitation has worked or is even possible.

Yes we do; but even if we didn't that doesn't justify letting god sort them out.



Alrighty then.

I didn't propose CP as an answer btw, I was thinking more along the lines of some kind of separation from the rest of society.

Ok, it seemed to be the implication. Separation from society is the current status quo, or do you mean permanent exile for convicted murderers?
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#93  Postby Shrunk » Oct 02, 2014 1:45 pm

Zadocfish2 wrote:I'm pro-life because I lost a potential sibling that way, and given the circumstances I was likely a hair's breadth away from the same fate.


Actually, you lost dozens of potential siblings, one for each time your mother ovulated without conceiving. So what's one more?

And I'm pro-CP because I know of at least one case where CP being bigger in the 40's saved the life of my great-grandmother.


I'm trying to imagine a scenario, that doesn't involve time travel, the ability to foresee the future, or other such practical impossibilities, in which you could know this., But I'm coming up empty. So maybe you could elaborate.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#94  Postby Coastal » Oct 02, 2014 1:48 pm

I am really not proposing anything except some kind of separation from society. This is again one of those complex issues that do not seem to have a silver bullet answer. The only point I was really trying to make is that I do not feel comfortable with murders walking the streets.

I think it's much more tragic for a released murderer to murder again than it is for a murderer to be separated from society - even if they can be seen as part of society/the public.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#95  Postby laklak » Oct 02, 2014 1:54 pm

We toss around life imprisonment without parole a bit too freely, at least down here in the U.S. South. We also execute a lot of people. I've no doubt there are some people who need to be removed from society for the duration, but you can get life here for three minor felonies where no one was injured. Seems a bit excessive to me. As Cali said, there are cases where brain abnormalities, whether congenital or not, cause criminal behavior. There are other cases where the perpetrators are, for lack of a better description, evil. It's difficult to predict whether a rehabilitative approach will work in any given case so we tend to err on the side of caution, lock them up and throw away the key. That's understandable, particularly given the number of high profile cases where someone is released only to commit some heinous crime.

A good example is the kid who killed two British tourists here in Sarasota a couple of years ago because they wandered into Da Hood late at night. Kid was 16 and had just been released after shooting up a car load of rival gangbangers. Bad move on the part of the juvenile justice system, and it came back to bite them hard. You mess with our international tourists and see how fast you draw the authorities' attention, particularly after the Daily Mail gets hold of the story. He was sentenced to life (there is no parole in Florida) but SCOTUS ruled, in a different case, that juveniles cannot be sentenced to life without parole. He's appealed and though the conviction was upheld he will be re-sentenced.

So what is the correct sentence? Do we take a chance that someone who is a multiple felon by the age of 16 can be rehabilitated? He forced two innocent, tipsy tourists to get on their knees and beg for their lives before shooting them in the back of the head. Can any amount of education or rehabilitation cure someone so divorced from common humanity? Sure, he was poor and lived in the projects, but is that an excuse? If he was sentenced as a juvenile and released only to kill someone else the backlash would be unsurvivable, is any politician going to take that chance?
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#96  Postby Sendraks » Oct 02, 2014 2:04 pm

Coastal wrote:I think it's much more tragic for a released murderer to murder again than it is for a murderer to be separated from society - even if they can be seen as part of society/the public.


I agree, but the problem with most penal systems is that they do nothing other than separate the individual from society for the duration. There is no meaningful attempt at rehabilitation, no professional involvement in trying to find ways to turn that individuals world view round and to give their life some meaning. So is it little wonder that after a period in prison which, for the most part is going to breed little more than anger and resentment in an individual, that they commit a crime again.

Going with what Laklak has said:

laklak wrote: Can any amount of education or rehabilitation cure someone so divorced from common humanity?


I honestly don't know the answer to that. But I do know that the current US penal system (and the UK system), don't even scratch the surface at even trying to answer those questions.

If all you're going to do is lock someone up, then to realistically expect them to be much different at the end of the duration with zero interventions intended to benefit the individual have occurred, is madness. Sadly, so many people out there think that being in prison will magically change a person.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#97  Postby Fallible » Oct 02, 2014 2:24 pm

laklak wrote:We toss around life imprisonment without parole a bit too freely, at least down here in the U.S. South. We also execute a lot of people. I've no doubt there are some people who need to be removed from society for the duration, but you can get life here for three minor felonies where no one was injured. Seems a bit excessive to me. As Cali said, there are cases where brain abnormalities, whether congenital or not, cause criminal behavior. There are other cases where the perpetrators are, for lack of a better description, evil.


Well it's easy to use that word, but what exactly do you mean by it? And then how do you tell the difference between someone with a brain abnormality, someone who has become fucked up by their past or present life and someone who is 'evil'?

It's difficult to predict whether a rehabilitative approach will work in any given case so we tend to err on the side of caution, lock them up and throw away the key. That's understandable, particularly given the number of high profile cases where someone is released only to commit some heinous crime.


I don't think that's understandable in any way, quite frankly. Just because you give someone a sentence with the possibility of parole, that doesn't mean that they're going to be let out at the first available opportunity, or indeed at any subsequent opportunity. It simply means that a criminal gets regularly assessed to see if they have altered enough to meet the requirements of release. To deny a 16 year old (a child) any chance at all of getting out of prison, as in the case you describe below, is in my view idiotic.

A good example is the kid who killed two British tourists here in Sarasota a couple of years ago because they wandered into Da Hood late at night. Kid was 16 and had just been released after shooting up a car load of rival gangbangers. Bad move on the part of the juvenile justice system, and it came back to bite them hard. You mess with our international tourists and see how fast you draw the authorities' attention, particularly after the Daily Mail gets hold of the story. He was sentenced to life (there is no parole in Florida) but SCOTUS ruled, in a different case, that juveniles cannot be sentenced to life without parole. He's appealed and though the conviction was upheld he will be re-sentenced.


Good.

So what is the correct sentence? Do we take a chance that someone who is a multiple felon by the age of 16 can be rehabilitated?


Exactly what chance do you imagine you would be taking by reviewing his case every few years to evaluate him? Of course we take the attitude that a child of 16 can be rehabilitated. The alternative is just leaving him to fester for 70 years in jail without any effort being made to find out whether he should still be there, which SCOTUS has already ruled cannot happen.

He forced two innocent, tipsy tourists to get on their knees and beg for their lives before shooting them in the back of the head. Can any amount of education or rehabilitation cure someone so divorced from common humanity?


If you need to ask the question, it's not settled and you shouldn't be doing anything as final as sentencing him to life imprisonment without parole or executing him.

Sure, he was poor and lived in the projects, but is that an excuse? If he was sentenced as a juvenile and released only to kill someone else the backlash would be unsurvivable, is any politician going to take that chance?


Again, you're just assuming that giving someone the possibility of parole is the same as inevitably letting them out of jail at some point.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#98  Postby Sendraks » Oct 02, 2014 2:33 pm

Fallible wrote:Again, you're just assuming that giving someone the possibility of parole is the same as inevitably letting them out of jail at some point.


I think that perhaps part of the problem that Lak and Coastal are getting at, is about a lack of confidence in the parole system in determining with any sort of accuracy whether someone is suitable for parole. I agree that this is a definite weakness in the system where little or no rehabilitation takes place.

But then, why have any sort of system of parole if you're not actually going to do anything meaningful to rehabilitate someone?
It makes no sense and instead you get prisoners being taught, by other prisoners, how to get round a parole board. Amazing how many prisoners, in the US at least, seem to "find God" in prison and that becomes a tool for securing parole. Which goes to show how fucked up parole boards can be.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#99  Postby orpheus » Oct 02, 2014 2:37 pm

Sendraks wrote:
Coastal wrote:I think it's much more tragic for a released murderer to murder again than it is for a murderer to be separated from society - even if they can be seen as part of society/the public.


I agree, but the problem with most penal systems is that they do nothing other than separate the individual from society for the duration. There is no meaningful attempt at rehabilitation, no professional involvement in trying to find ways to turn that individuals world view round and to give their life some meaning. So is it little wonder that after a period in prison which, for the most part is going to breed little more than anger and resentment in an individual, that they commit a crime again.

Going with what Laklak has said:

laklak wrote: Can any amount of education or rehabilitation cure someone so divorced from common humanity?


I honestly don't know the answer to that. But I do know that the current US penal system (and the UK system), don't even scratch the surface at even trying to answer those questions.

If all you're going to do is lock someone up, then to realistically expect them to be much different at the end of the duration with zero interventions intended to benefit the individual have occurred, is madness. Sadly, so many people out there think that being in prison will magically change a person.


:this:

Sadly, too, so many people think that imposing capital punishment will not change us.
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Re: Are Genocides Associated with Atheists?

#100  Postby Sendraks » Oct 02, 2014 2:38 pm

orpheus wrote:
Sendraks wrote:
Coastal wrote:I think it's much more tragic for a released murderer to murder again than it is for a murderer to be separated from society - even if they can be seen as part of society/the public.


I agree, but the problem with most penal systems is that they do nothing other than separate the individual from society for the duration. There is no meaningful attempt at rehabilitation, no professional involvement in trying to find ways to turn that individuals world view round and to give their life some meaning. So is it little wonder that after a period in prison which, for the most part is going to breed little more than anger and resentment in an individual, that they commit a crime again.

Going with what Laklak has said:

laklak wrote: Can any amount of education or rehabilitation cure someone so divorced from common humanity?


I honestly don't know the answer to that. But I do know that the current US penal system (and the UK system), don't even scratch the surface at even trying to answer those questions.

If all you're going to do is lock someone up, then to realistically expect them to be much different at the end of the duration with zero interventions intended to benefit the individual have occurred, is madness. Sadly, so many people out there think that being in prison will magically change a person.


:this:

Sadly, too, so many people think that executing people will not change us.


:this:
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